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Sp-brrrr-ing Is Here! - Ohio Amish Country Experiences Volume #3 Issue #32
March 31, 2011
Ohio Amish Country Experiences
and Ohio Amish Country Marketing
Dear Ohio Amish Country Enthusiast,
On March 20, 2011 the calendar boldly proclaimed "Spring has Sprung!" Now, it all depends upon where you live as to whether or not the weather outside agreed with the calendar.
Here in Northeast Ohio, well . . . we've had the typical fare for the end of March - beautifully sunny at times, but ooooh still soooo cold. The sun shines brightly but the temperature just seems to lag behind. Then - more snow!
At least we know that any snow we get now can't last long. The ground is still covered in the morning, but now it is more often only with a heavy frost instead.
With the changing of the clocks for Daylight Savings the daylight has suddenly grown noticeably longer and the sun sets distinctly further north along the horizon.
The telltale signs of spring are beginning to emerge. Some of the trees look like the buds are just waiting to explode. The grass shows a tease of green beginning to rise.
Barnyards are coming alive as young stock are being born. We've already had three calves born and anticipate more coming any day. Alas, we've survived another winter and eagerly anticipate the full beauty of spring!
You'll not want to miss this wonderful time of year in Ohio Amish Country. April brings special opportunities to see Amish farmers getting out in their fields and getting their gardens ready for spring planting.
You need to take time to drive down some country back roads and see what you'll find! There's beauty around every bend and lots of photo opportunities around every corner.
Consider making this Easter special, come celebrate new life in the serenity of Ohio's Amish Country. Come experience God's miraculous transition of nature from "death" to "life" as the seasonal cycle starts all over once again!
Regardless of when you do plan to take your trip, you'd better plan now! Before you know it - spring will be past, summer will have flown by, fall will have faded away - and winter will be here again.
Alright, I know it doesn't actually happen that fast - but then again, sometimes I really wonder . . . seems like just yesterday it was spring of 2010 and we were talking about it in a previous newsletter!
Well, don't forget, if you need a little help navigating around Ohio Amish Country, we strongly advise that you get an Ohio Amish Country map. _________________________________________________________________
In this issue we'll be highlighting:
Our Feature of the Month - Lehman's
The Tip of the Month - It's Steelhead time again!
A - Featured Recipe of the Month - Homemade Ice Cream
And as always Monthly Events - Find out what's happening - where and when in Ohio Amish Country.
A favorite destination of ours in Kidron, Ohio (in Wayne County) is a one-of-a-kind "hardware" store called Lehman's.
If you've ever been there, you'll know what we mean when we say that they carry a little bit of just about everything and a lot of things you may not have realized are still made!
If you've not experienced this wonderful trip back through yesteryear, you need to see it to believe it.
The store was founded by Jay Lehman in 1955 to serve the local Amish and others without electricity. "My idea was to preserve the past for future generations," explains Lehman. "My goal has been to provide authentic historical products to those looking for a simpler life."
And this is exactly what Lehman's has done for the past half century - even providing realistic replicas of antiques for use in films.
They've added on several times to the store that started out as a hardware & appliance store with a SOHIO gas station. The century old barn is still part of the existing structure, part of which is actually built over the tiny North Fork Creek.
They continued to grow, added a great little Cafť for the hungry shopper and continued to look for and stock American made products as best as possible.
And this is how it was and would continue to be . . . except for one thing. In the early morning of February 28, 2011 several events merged in such a way that caused the unthinkable to happen.
The grip of cold weather on the area had finally loosened. A lot of snow and ice had melted, but the nights were still cold. Around 5:30 in the morning, according to the official weather station data compiled at the nearby OARDC in Wooster, about 1/2" of rain fell in less than 15 minutes.
Earlier, at approximately 5:00 a.m., one of the Lehman family friends, who works at Central Christian Schools (at the crest of a hill about a mile from Lehmanís) saw that the fields and parking lot around the school were full of water. In over a quarter century of working there, he had never seen anything like this before.
The cold, the melting snow, the heavy rain, coupled with the fact that there had been some undersized, private, downstream bridges built in the last five years equaled a potential for disaster.
And that disaster culminated with the 5 foot diameter culvert under the Kidron Road (designed to safely carry all that water away) being plugged with snow and ice.
When it melted just before six in the morning and broke free, it let loose a flash flood - down the tiny North Fork Creek headed straight for Lehman's Hardware.
At 6:30 a.m. a torrent of water came through Kidron in what one observer described as "a tidal wave." The water reached a crest of nearly 3 feet in some parts of the store.
By 7:00 a.m. Lehman's son and current store owner Galen Lehman received a call at home. "I'll never forget the words, 'Did you know there is 18 inches of water all through the store?' I didn't know then, but this vastly understated the problem," explained the younger Lehman. "By 7:10, I was at the store. But, the water was too deep for me to enter, even with my boots on."
Come 7:30 a.m. most of the water was gone from the store. Parts of the parking lot were under water from clogged drains. The water came through the store with such speed and force that it picked up an 18 cu ft refrigerator and carried it nearly from one end of the store to the other.
Thousands of smaller items washed into the down-hill end of the store, where they piled up so deeply that they completely blocked the aisles.
The "event" was over in less than 3 hours - but the ramifications are ongoing - especially in light of the fact that they have no flood insurance.
Fortunately, the story doesn't end here!
About 60-70 people worked in the store until after 10 p.m. that first day. This included employees, temporary workers and volunteers. By the time they left that night, most of the center entrance was clean.
All the merchandise that had been knocked onto the floor in the flood was picked up. A lot of the mud had been scrapped from the floor. Every flat surface below the water level had 1/4" to 1/2" of mud on it. They estimated the number of square feet times that much mud, and it came out to somewhere between 30 and 40 TONS of mud in all that had to be removed!
Within 30 hours of the flood, they had the front doors open, although it was only the lobby. By Friday, they had nearly the whole store open.
"The entire tragedy unfolded in less than three hours," said Lehman. "The clean up was not a tragedy, but a miracle . . . a miracle of giving, of unity, of caring and of hard work."
They've been selling flood damaged merchandise at 50% off and new items are arriving daily. The only area still closed is the stove room. It will reopen on April 9 with a giant $50,000 sale of flood damaged woodstoves. The stoves will be 30% to 40% off. Smaller items are available for 50% off. The entire store will be open again by April 9th.
Here's an excerpt from a thank you letter from Galen Lehman to the community:
". . . a miracle happened. Less than 2 hours after I first heard about the flood, the first person stopped in to offer help. By 10:00 a.m. the torrent of water had been replaced by a torrent of caring and eager helpers. Within hours, clean floor began to appear as the mud was squeegeed aside. The parking lot was cleared of mud completely by volunteers. Over the next three days, we worked until 10 p.m. each day.
By Wednesday, I no longer felt like crying over the devastation. That's because the amount of devastation had already been reduced by half. Instead, I felt like crying over the amazing and generous gift of help and support from our friends and neighbors. By Thursday at closing time, we had nearly the whole store open.
In just 4 days, we completely cleaned 30,000 square feet of display space. Every shelf was cleaned. Every inch of floor (even under the fixtures) was mopped. Walls were washed. The antiques we had on display had been lovingly wiped off . . .
What started as one of the worst weeks Iíve been through - ended as possibly one of the best!"
To us, this just shows what Ohio Amish Country is all about! We would like to encourage our readers to give them some "extra support" as they continue to work on cleanup and getting back to normal.
You can call them at: 888-438-5346
Or, follow Galen Lehman's Blog at: Lehman's Country Life
A very special thanks to Galen Lehman who provided us with so much information and assistance for this article as well as the pictures of their flood. _________________________________________________________________
Steelhead Fishing in Conneaut Creek!
Conneaut, Ohio (in Ashtabula County) is home to a nationally renown creek. Conneaut Creek is well known in fishing circles for its steelhead trout fishing.
Each year, tens of thousands of yearling steelhead are stocked in the creek by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Fly fisherman come from far and near for the opportunity to "land a big one" and enjoy the flavor of fresh trout.
Steelhead season in the creek runs from September through May. About mid April through mid May the fish head downstream to "summer" in Lake Erie. Come fall, they once again head upstream for spawning.
Featured Recipe of the Month
Homemade Ice Cream
Homemade Ice Cream recipe submitted by Rachel Schlabach.
Calendar of Events
"Yo-Yo Flower" Jewelry Workshop
Midvale Speedway Stock Car Show
Saturdays in Zoar Guest Lecture Series
"A Stop Along the Way...Paris" Dennison Depot Ball
Tuscazoar Maple Days
April 4 - May 1
Pancake Breakfast AYCE
"Images of Our Past History" Presented by Fred Miller
Shutterbugs Camera Club
Fish Fry Friday's
Zoar in the Civil War Event & OHS Civil War Collection Display
Advanced Blacksmithing Class
"Spring Serenades," Tuscarawas Philharmonic Concert
Tuscarawas County Italian-American Festival Spring Fling
Sunrise Farm's Easter Eggstravaganza
April 13 - 16
100th Anniversary Sale at Keim Lumber
Meet the Artists: Mardel Sanzotta & Wayne Chunat
Easter Bunny's Hoppin' Egg Hunt
Earth Day 2011 at Farmpark
Percussion Group Cincinnati
Attracting Hummingbirds with Flair
Earth Day Clean Up
Make and Take Rain Barrel Workshop
Moravian Easter Sunrise Service
April 25 - May 14
10,000 Tulip Extravaganza at Lamplight Inn
The Improvised Shakespeare Company
April 28-30, May 1
Geauga Maple Festival
"Spring Into Zoar" Homeschool Days
April 29-May 1
"Wizard of Oz"
April 29-May 1
Dover Dam Weekend
Union Hospital Auxiliary's "Tea in the Garden"
Well, guess that's all for now - hope you find this news helpful and as exciting as we do.
Trust also that you'll have a great Ohio Amish Country Experience - real soon!
Stuart & Norma Watson
P.S. Feel free to let us know what you think of our newsletter. Give us feedback or suggestions for future issues - just click here. Thanks again!
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